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Twins Game Recap (9/12): Twins Drop Series to Nationals, Cleveland 3.5 Back

The Twins drop the rubber match to the Washington Nationals as they were outhit 14-12 and outscored 12-6. Kyle Gibson was hit hard but showed some positive signs while most of the offense scuffled against left-hander Patrick Corbin.
Image courtesy of FanGraphs
Box Score
Gibson: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER (6 R), 4 BB, 5 K, 6.13% strikes (57 of 93 pitches)
Bullpen: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

Home Runs: Cruz (36), Schoop (22)
Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (2-for-5), Schoop (3-for-5)

Top 3 WPA: Schoop (.092), Castro (.071), Cruz (.061)
Bottom 3 WPA: Gibson (-.302), Stewart (-.120), Stashak (-.47)

Gibson Hit Hard in Return to Mound but It Wasn’t All Bad
After missing two starts Gibby returned to the mound with the tough task of facing the Washington Nationals who were going for the series win. The Nationals are a top 10 team in all of baseball when it comes to facing right-handed pitching as well as being one of the best teams in baseball since June 1. Throughout the evening Washington was hovering around .380 in xBA, per Statcast, which means Gibson was getting hit hard which was mostly due to not hitting his spots. For example, Adam Eaton’s home run to lead off the fifth inning was left middle/middle, and this was a recurring issue through the night for Gibson. It also didn’t help that he walked four hitters. That said, there were some positive things to note.

Gibson’s fastball velocity was actually a tick or two above his average in the first inning before settling in at about 94 mph, which is where he normally sits. A good sign considering the symptoms of ulcerative colitis include weight loss and fatigue. What might have been the most impressive thing from his start tonight was the movement of his off-speed pitches which induced a 21 percent swinging strike rate against a team who Fangraphs has ranked as third in all of baseball in contact percentage. In all, it wasn’t a terrible start and may be somewhat expected considering his recent illness coupled with the line-up he was facing but there were still some positive takeaways.

Cruz, Schoop, Garver Hit Well, Rest of Line up Squanders Opportunities
As the Nationals were smoking the ball from the top of the order to the bottom, the Twins struggled to make hard contact against the soft-throwing lefty Patrick Corbin. Through the evening the Twins xBA was in right around .275 give or take 10 points or so before plummeting in the later innings to the low .200’s. Rosario responded to a Rendon homer in the top of the first with a RBI single to right scoring Luis Arraez who had doubled on a ball that had an xBA of .020 (yes, the “2” is in the right spot).

Cruz blasted his 36th home run in the bottom of the third while Mitch Garver was about two feet away from hitting his 31st home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth. Other than Schoop, who hit his 22nd home run in the eighth as well as a 109 mph line drive at an umpire, the rest of the offense was pretty stagnant. This was a little surprising as this was the best lineup the Twins had in the three game series with the Nationals.

Postgame With Baldelli

Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet
Click here for a review of the number of pitches thrown by each member of the bullpen over the past five days.

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Sep 12 2019 11:00 PM


    • 3balls2strikes likes this
Sep 13 2019 12:04 AM

3.5 game lead with 16 to play for division. 2.5 and 3 game leads over OAK and TB for wildcard. The way this team is performing . . . ugh . . . it doesn't matter who the're playing the rest of the way, the playoffs are far far far from a sure thing. 

    • bighat likes this
Sep 13 2019 02:52 AM



Today's line should read,


Washington Nationals 12 - Rochester Red Wings 6

    • lukeduke1980 likes this
Sep 13 2019 03:46 AM
Realistically, the Twins need to win at least one game of the three in Cleveland, and then take care of business against Detroit, KC and Chicago. For the record would be good to notch that win tonight. (And I would accept more than one win against Cleveland.)
    • birdwatcher, mikelink45 and bighat like this

I can't believe the pitching guru's haven't identified Stewart as being a canditate for sale to a Korean team, yet. How long is it gonna take? How much more will this team have to suffer as he keeps getting run out there? Bullpen holds today.... and it is a 6-5 win. And hey........ it is not like the Twins are 10 games up anymore and you can just throw games away, and give up on the offense coming back and throw in your Rochester Red Wings, Stashak, Stewart, and Hildenberger.


    • SpicyGarvSauce likes this
It was obvious early that Gibson had zero command. Zero. Multiple pitches nowhere close, and way too many pitches left in the middle.

I dont understand leaving him in to give up runs 3 4 and 5. Thay have about 299 relievers currently.
    • birdwatcher, h2oface, mikelink45 and 5 others like this
Tom Froemming
Sep 13 2019 05:40 AM

Kyle Gibson is not 100%, so why are the Twins using him like he is? Here's Twins Pitch:


    • h2oface, In My La-Z-boy and VivaBomboRivera! like this
Sep 13 2019 06:10 AM
Michael Pineda screwed this team over big time. I appreciate that Gibson came back and took one for the team, but his delivery is all messed up. I hope the best for him, and I hope he can get effective treatment. He should be shut down.

The Twins really need Odorizzi and Berrios to deliver all-star performances this weekend, because starting pitching looks like it will be a patch job the rest of the way.

You almost have to offer Odorizzi the QO. I don't care if the Twins have a strong negotiation case with Pineda. I don't want him on the team. Gibson should walk as well. It's a tough business, but his health issues are very concerning.

Stewart/Hildenberger = Two no-brainer 40-man openings
    • mikelink45 and wabene like this

I hate to say it, but I see the Twins getting swept in Cleveland. I have no idea how this team is going to win a game against a competitive team with the lineups they keep sending out there. Someone mentioned yesterday that the Twins lineup looks worse than KC's and Chicago's these days, it's hard to argue.


Nice to see Nelson Cruz come back to life. Guess that's a positive to hang on to.

    • jbissell likes this
In My La-Z-boy
Sep 13 2019 06:24 AM

Annoying game indeed. Rocco didn't manage the staff last night to win. Leaving Gibson in too long - putting Stewart out for the 6th. I agree he prioritized saving our high leverage guys for Cleveland but we don't have one game to waste in my opinion. Limping to the finish line here. I agree w/Tom - with our line up right now, it is no sure thing we beat up on Chicago Detroit and KC. 

    • birdwatcher, mikelink45, bighat and 1 other like this
Sep 13 2019 06:43 AM

Yesterday was Thursday, September 12.It was the 146th game of the year putting the Twins 90% of the way through the season.The Twins hit 2 home runs for a season total of 279 home runs.The Twins are now 1 home run behind the Yankees for the new MLB single-season home run record.

    • wabene likes this
Sep 13 2019 06:49 AM
Again, this teams reminds me of 2018 Twins and not the Bomba Squad. Let's find the bats in Cleveland and take at least two there. Then, get fat and beat up the AL Central bottom feeders for the final dozen games and hit the playoffs as the Bomba Squad again. Oh yeah, get healthy too. Realistically, there is a good chance Clevaland sweeps the Twins. I don't understand the Fangraphs odds to win division/make playoffs of 93.8%/98.9% for the Twins. The way this club is trending I would chop those percentages in half.

We all know the lineup is in shambles. Obviously that's the main problem with this team right now. A close second at this point is it seems like there's one decision that Rocco makes every night that leaves you wondering how differently the game could have gone. He's making decisions beyond rookie mistakes at this point, and I for one am really starting to lose faith in him as someone who should have full control of a major league game. 


Kohl Stewart coming into a 3 run game when we have a 15 man bullpen is downright unacceptable. I'd make the argument that not only should he have not been given a September roster spot with his 5.14 AAA ERA, but he shouldn't be occupying a 40 man spot either. We've heard plenty about the roster crunch in the offseason about the several guys who need to be added to the 40 man, and obviously that requires some be taken off. I'd expect one of those first castoffs to be Kohl Stewart.


It appears the plan going into Cleveland is to just flick the switch and become a new team. I just don't see it. That being said, if we can come away with one win in Cleveland, we'd still be significant favorites. If we come away with two, I'd say it's effectively over. We'll see how this works out.

    • mikelink45, bunt_vs_the_shift and MMMordabito like this



Was surprised Arraez wasn't included with your heading "Cruz, Schoop and Garver hit well."Thought his first inning double that lead to tying the game was huge...and against a lefty who I understand is very tough on lefties. 


Didn't watch the entire game, but can understand if that was his only hit it is an off night for him.What was it the night before, three hits?This kid really should be getting consideration for Rookie of the Year.   

    • mikelink45, bighat, wabene and 1 other like this


3.5 game lead with 16 to play for division. 2.5 and 3 game leads over OAK and TB for wildcard. The way this team is performing . . . ugh . . . it doesn't matter who the're playing the rest of the way, the playoffs are far far far from a sure thing. 


There not gonna make it.


Bullpen holds today.... and it is a 6-5 win.

Well, the 6th run was charged to Gibson and scored on a passed ball by Garver -- so maybe if the bullpen *and* catching holds, it would have been a 6-5 win. Otherwise, if just the bullpen, a 6-6 tie -- just like in Japan!

    • h2oface, bighat and wabene like this


There not gonna make it.


That would be an epic collapse to not even make the postseason

Sep 13 2019 07:30 AM

Why did Stashak only throw 3 pitches?

    • wabene likes this


Why did Stashak only throw 3 pitches?

To get to the other side? :)

    • PDX Twin, Platoon, Tom Froemming and 3 others like this

Nothing worse (in baseball) than watching a pitcher who is afraid to throw strikes. Gibson relied way too much on sliders in the dirt. If you are afraid of any hitter you shouldn't be out there. It was painful to watch. Gibson looked like he needs to gain about 25 pounds. It is a shame because he has been a mainstay for years and has shown streaks of reliability for lack of a better word. Last night was very discouraging not because of runs allowed but because of his entire approach and demeanor on the mound.

Tonight's lineup will be very interesting.

    • mikelink45, bighat, wabene and 2 others like this


Thay have about 299 relievers currently.

That number seems low.

    • h2oface likes this

It's definitely fair to question why Stewart was out there with no one else getting loose in the pen. It was only 6-3 at that point, with 4 innings left, and Corbin was already at 92 pitches so we were going to see the Nats bullpen for at least 3 of those innings. Stewart hadn't pitched anywhere in over 2 weeks, and wasn't very effective before that either (5.64 ERA in MLB in 2019 before last night, 5.14 ERA at AAA too).


Now Stewart's season ERA in MLB in up to 6.66, which is always a good sign!


We were willing to have May and Rogers get loose in the 8th inning down by 4 runs -- it boggles the mind that we wouldn't have at least Hildy, Harper, or Thorpe getting loose in the 6th in case Stewart scuffled. The Twins active roster contains 18 healthy pitchers right now!

    • USAFChief, h2oface, wabene and 2 others like this

in Stewart's defense, he hasn't pitched in a long time.On the other hand, he has been so-so all year both here and in Rochester.Will be interesting to see if he is on the team come December 1.Too bad baseball doesn't allow you to trade someone needing a fresh start for a low draft pick.

    • wabene likes this


That would be an epic collapse to not even make the postseason


I agree. The way this team is playing Cleveland easily sweeps and then it's a crap shoot as to whether or not they can squeak out enough wins against the White Sox, Royals and Tigers to beat out the Indians. Meanwhile the Rays and A's are right on the heels of the Twins from a win / loss perspective. I think this thing goes right down to the wire. They could very easily be on the outside looking in come Sept. 30th.

    • bighat and wabene like this

in Stewart's defense, he hasn't pitched in a long time. On the other hand, he has been so-so all year both here and in Rochester. Will be interesting to see if he is on the team come December 1. Too bad baseball doesn't allow you to trade someone needing a fresh start for a low draft pick.

Why would they possibly keep him on the roster at this point?
    • h2oface and wabene like this

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